21 June 2023

  • Date:               21 June 2023
  • Walk Leader: Lynne Burge
  • Distance:         10 Miles
  • Start:               10:00 am Hedge Corner GR: SU688 304


The hot, humid weather saw 15 eager ramblers ready to walk new paths from the far side of Hedge Corner on the A32. Until now we have always stuck to the east side of the main road but today we ventured on the west side.
To begin with there was some road walking along a quiet lane that led to the bottom of Monkwood. Passing along we saw banks of foxgloves under the trees, all a beautiful deep pink colour reflecting the sun. Then came some very desirable houses, one called Ramblers so we had to stop and take a photo! Working our way up into the main part of Monkwood we at last made it onto paths leading northwards. The route is evidently a BOAT (byway open to all traffic) as there were great gouges out of the surface made by large tyres. Thankfully, due to the hot weather, the ground was hard and not muddy. Relishing being under the trees we made our way along to emerge onto a minor road.

Following this we headed gently along Lyeway Lane, so called, it is thought, as it may have had something to do with Ley Lines. Believe that if you will. Then we came across the ESSO pipeline that is being built in the area, an ugly scar across the landscape. Turning off the road we made it to a gentle path which we followed after a coffee stop. This was along Andrew’s Lane and led us eventually down past some farm worker houses into the edge of Gilbert Street
Turning a very quick left we joined part of the St Swithun’s way which led over stiles and across fields. One problem occurred at a tricky stile that had barbed wire all around it and no convenient hole for a rather large dog to get through. Thanks to the efforts of Peter, our newest member, who valiantly picked Fergal up and helped him over the obstacle to the relief of everyone.

Taking a short detour to allow those walkers who had not seen the restored church in Ropley-it had been devastated by a fire several years ago- we continued on our way along a delightful route. The trees that lined both sides provided much needed shade as I could hear a few tummies beginning to rumble. Thinking about where we could stop for lunch we began to cross a field that was full of oil seed rape. The way was not easy. The rape once flowering has finished tends to droop in all directions and trying to see the path and where to carefully put one’s feet was difficult. But, being Petersfield Ramblers we strode our way through it to the trees at the edge of the field. Lunch was next on the agenda and a change to rest weary legs.

Nothing daunted, after eating we continued across the next field of rape and then was realised onto a gentle track that turned east in the direction of the cars. More fields ensued, followed by more roads until we were beginning to near the end. Up through a copse led us onto a path above the A32 and above a field that once was used for paint balling. The eagle eyed amongst us spotted wrecked caravans, covered with paint, that were used as targets. In fact you can walk through the original field but it is not a pleasant experience as it is littered with redundant caravans and bits of scrub.

All that was left of the walk was to drop down to Woodside Farm and the various cottages there, follow up past a tree surgeons yards and cross a field sown with clover. Back along the road and we were at the cars ready to go home for a shower and a cup of tea. Over 10 miles on a hot day and they were all still smiling.

Author: Lynne Burge

Photographs: Lynne Burge & Claire Anderson

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